Sport

Roberto Di Matteo wants to bridge Chelsea gap between Manchester City and United after lacklustre league finish

By Dean Wilkins

New Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo is hoping to close in on Premier League champions Manchester City and rivals United after a lacklustre season.

The recently appointed Italian led the Londoners to their first Champions League title and the FA Cup last season after taking over from Stamford Bridge flop Andre Villas Boas.

But Di Matteo – whose side ended 25 points behind the Manchester clubs – wants to improve on their sixth place league finish.

He told the Guardian: “We certainly want to do better in the league.

“Last season was a difficult one and we want to bridge that gap between us and the two Manchester teams and, obviously, continue to do well in the cup competitions.”

Chelsea have added Lille striker Eden Hazard for £32million and Werder Bremen’s Marko Marin for £7million to their squad so far this summer

But core-players Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Alex have already departed and the 42-year-old suggested there would be further signings.

“We’ve lost a few players who are out of contract and we’ve already signed a couple of players, so there will be a slight change, but there won’t be a complete overhaul of the squad,” he said.

“We will try to make the right signings for the functionality of the squad.”

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay is confident that Di Matteo is the man to rebuild the club after a range of managers have failed to impress owner Roman Abramovich.

“Although he has set the bar very high in the short time he has been in charge, we know that Roberto is the right man to lead Chelsea onto further success,” he said.

“We all believed he was a young coach with much to offer when we first asked him to take charge of team affairs in March, and the manner in which he worked with us, the players and all the staff, and the success that followed, made him the clear choice when it came to selecting the person to take us forward in the seasons to come.”

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